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Diversity at SSFS

SSFS All-School Diversity Statement:
Sandy Spring Friends School embraces the values of the Religious Society of Friends, also known as Quakers. Quaker values are grounded in the belief that there is that of God in everyone. This belief – along with the continuous quest to seek the truth – is central to the understanding that diversity of thought, identity and experience is essential to academic excellence, personal growth and spiritual development. Our School is committed to fostering a diverse community of students, faculty, staff, administrators, trustees and families who accept, appreciate and respect each individual’s uniqueness.

News

Youth Peace Conference: May 13

May 13 marks the second annual Youth Peace Conference held on the SSFS campus! YPC is an annual student-led and student-attended event sponsored by the Sandy Spring Monthly Meeting, focusing on how prejudice and otherization prevent peace. With this year's theme, "Intersectionality of 'Isms,'" participants will explore the root causes and impacts of systems of discrimination in our society, such as racism, sexism, ableism, and homophobia, among others. Students from grades 8-12 are invited to attend and will receive 6 community service hours as an added bonus. Registration deadline is May 10, 2017!

The schedule for the upcoming conference features keynote speaker Dr. Kumea Shorter-Gooden, the former diversity officer at UMD and one of two girls to integrate the Madeira school in the 1960's. The conference schedule also includes workshops by local social justice organizations and student leaders from partnering schools (Sherwood, Blake, and Good Counsel High Schools, and the Muslim Community Center).

The registration link for the conference can be found here.

Diverse student perspectives are central to YPC, and sharing your perspective through a workshops is an opportunity to get even more involved! Students leading workshops can directly share their experiences and speak out on a system of discrimination that affects them--and get extra service hours in the process. Guidelines and sign-ups can be found here.

With any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to student organizers Marzi and Samaa.

For over a decade, the U.S. has experienced an increasing amount of islamophobic sentiment in culture, media, and politics. This cultural transformation has changed from belief to policy with the recent national travel ban from six different predominantly Muslim countries. This act is both contrary to the American principle of religious freedom and the basic human tenets of respect and decency. In an act of simultaneous disagreement with this policy and education of our community, we will be hosting Muslim speakers from the six countries on the travel ban list to discuss their experience both in America and their country of origin. This event is open to the SSFS community, and its goals would be to fight against this rise in American Islamophobia, provide education to the SSFS community on the issue, and provide resources on how to take action. Click here for flyer.

The theme for the year in our World History II class has been challenging power and authority. As a part of their nationalism unit, students sent letters to the President articulating their views on his nationalistic language. They also submitted these letters to Friends Journal Student Voices project. Of 300 students that submitted their pieces, Jacob Orloff was chosen to be one of the few students who are going to be featured in the May publication of Friends Journal. Read Jacob's letter here. Congratulations, Jacob!

Clint Smith with SSFS students

On March 9th, SSFS was thrilled to welcome Clint Smith to our campus. In 2015, Clint Smith gave a very popular TED talk, "How to raise a black son in America," that we watched during the 2016 Upper School MLK assembly. Inspired by his work, a group of students suggested that we invite Clint Smith to speak to SSFS students in person, and we were very grateful that he was able to come speak to us at this Upper School assembly.

During this 70-minute assembly, Clint used spoken word and poetry to dive into issues related to social justice and the history of racial inequalities. He also talked about the dangers of silence, how our thoughts related to race, class, gender and sexual orientation shapes how we experience the world, how we can make a change. He concluded his presentation by reading several poems from his new book, Counting Descent.

Following this presentation, students formed small groups to process what they heard, and think about questions they'd like to ask Clint Smith. He then returned to the stage to take questions, and also met afterwards to meet and speak with students.

See Clint Smith's website for more information about his book, as well as links to other publications, videos, and events.

Middle School Diversity Committee

Students of the Middle School Diversity Committee have been busy this February educating their community members about Black History. During Music of our Cultures - a weekly sharing of recorded music during recess - students selected several artists to play such as Louis Armstrong, Nina Simone, and Beyoncé. Additionally, committee members made a series of posters to honor influential African Americans. Each decorated poster contained information about a figure whose field of accomplishment corresponded to different classroom subjects. At the end of the month, committee clerks Mia V. and Peace F. as well as members Armaan B., Shuayb O., and Jordan C. adorned the school with the posters, hanging them outside of relevant classrooms for all students to read and learn from as they enter class.

Click here for a photo gallery of this event!

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